Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Smoke Nazis Strike Again

I'm sure someone at The Scotts Company--the big, mega-corporate lawn care business--can explain to me how a guy smoking a Marlboro in the privacy of his own home impairs his work hauling bags of fertilizer or selling rakes.

And they're going to have to, now that they've fired Bostonian Scott Rodrigues for failing his drug test. That's right: The Scotts Company drug tests its employees...for cigarettes.

According to his attorney, Mr. Rodrigues was smoking a pack a day when he was hired and was down to about six smokes a day when he was fired. Not good enough for the Smoke Nazis at The Scotts Company. Somebody sniffed out the scent of menthol in his urine sample and now Scott Rodrigues is on the street.

I think the Scotts Company and its mandatory "tinkle in the Camel cup" policy is stupid. What do they care what legal activities that have no impact on his job Mr. Rodrigues chooses to enjoy? If the argument is "what he does at home is affecting his health," well, OK. Does he ski? Does he sky dive? Eat mustard-based BBQ? Have unprotected sex with other men?

ALL of these activities increase your health risks. Are the folks engaged in these activities (particularly the last one) going to be fired?

Having said that, I am an ardent defender of the right to be stupid (a right I exercise on a daily basis), and if The Scotts Company chooses not to hire smokers, same-sexers or Scientologists, they should have that right. Mr. Rodrigues has no right to work for The Scotts Company and they have no duty to employ him.

What I love about this story is how clearly it reveals the Left's abandonment of its principles. Every Cambridge liberal is going to cheer The Scotts Company for doing to smokers what they would utterly denounce were it done to homosexuals. Their position is that they support discrimination when it hurts people they don't like.

Of course, Nazis, the Klan and Al Sharpton all share the Left's view that there is "good discrimination" and "bad discrimination." Rational people support the IDEAL of freedom, including the freedom to run your business as you choose. We understanding that a private person's freedom to discriminate will reveal their character, good or bad.

But if you can explain why firing smokers is OK but firing lesbians should be illegal, well, you're probably a member of the Deval Patrick transition team.